Four surprising ways quitting drinking can help you lose weight

This week we have a guest blog from a member of our social media community, Vickie King. She talks about the ‘quadruple strike’ of the four ways drinking alcohol leads to weight gain – and a surprising way she turned it all around to lose weight and quit drinking! 

I haven’t consumed a drop of alcohol since 23 September 2017. Sounds like a long time doesn’t it?  It is and it isn’t. But what hasn’t changed in all that time, is how much better I feel for it.

You don’t have to have a drinking problem, for drinking to be a problem.

I wasn’t an alcoholic. I didn’t drink every night. I didn’t binge drink on weekends. I didn’t consume vast quantities or have blackouts. But what I did do was have 2–3 glasses of wine on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. To relax, with a cheese platter, bar snacks, or dinner – all very civilised.

But the problem was I had started to rely on it to relax and unwind from a stressful job. However, I wasn’t happy about how it made me feel, or how it made me look. Inside and outside the booze wasn’t doing me any favours.

I was unmotivated, unfit, overweight, bloated, puffy-faced, and feeling pretty crappy about myself.

Four strikes a charm?

You see booze sets you up for what I call the ‘Quadruple Strike’

  1. You’re enjoying yourself, but you’re drinking a bunch of calories that have ZERO nutritional value – strike 1
  2. You’re drinking so you get snacky and end up ordering fatty fries or consuming a whole creamy brie with crackers – strike 2
  3. You’re riding the cocktail (or beer, or wine) highway till late. The next day you’re dusty … so you skip the gym – strike 3
  4. Being a little under the weather the next day, you need a big plate of greasy, salty  calorific goodness – You’re out!

Swap the bad, for the good.

I decided to draw a line in the sand. I stopped drinking and started going to CrossFit. CrossFit is good for the couch-potato boozer as it has a strong focus on injury prevention, competing only against yourself, and it’s ALL about community. So not only did I get exercise, but I also got to socialise and meet new people without alcohol.

For me, joining a normal gym where you go to anonymous classes or work out alone, wasn’t going to work. If I wasn’t going to the bar, I needed somewhere new to joke around with friends. CrossFit fitted the bill perfectly, so I went twice a week.

Becoming fitter and starting to take care of myself made it a whole lot easier to clean up the food too, because it’s hard to hate a body that you’re looking after. So it was easier to get the motivation to eat well and exercise because my body was responding and giving me encouragement. You start to build a wonderful momentum that carries over into other parts of your life (but that’s another blog post altogether!).

Results that speak to me.

Over a period of eight months I did lose weight – 14 kg to be precise! It just fell off me. I dropped 3 dress sizes and had to buy a whole new wardrobe (sorry not sorry). I felt better. Looked better. Thought better. And I had made a bunch of new healthy friends and found a place to socialise that didn’t require alcohol. It literally changed my life.

If I can do it, you can too. And trust me, it’s so worth it.

Vickie King

If you find you need extra support to help you change, check out Hello Sunday Mornings’ mobile behaviour change program, Daybreak.

23 Comments

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  • Feel really inspired by this Vickie, thank you !

    By Leah
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    June 12, 2019
  • Absolutely. Was a dedicated two glasses of wine a night drinker. Gained a bunch of weight after a knee injury. Doctor told me “you know, you could lose a bunch of weight if you cut back on the alcohol”, so, after a few halfway attempts, managed to be alcohol free for six months now, and together with reducing carbs and sugars have lost 70 pounds. Obviously the diet modification and exercise have helped a great deal, but I’m not always fighting uphill against the alcohol calories.

    By Peter S
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    June 12, 2019
  • GREAT POSTS I lost 30 lbs when went AF now i startewd drinking again but am stopping. Drinking makes me bloated and lazy skip workouts. Im taking my life back.

    By Steven
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    June 12, 2019
  • My story pretty much exactly. Alcohol free now for 13 months. The weight just dropped off me. 12 kilos lost and it’s staying off. The feeling of loving and respecting my body is powerful.

    By Marie
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    June 12, 2019
  • This is interesting, I was a heavy drinker 6 bottles of wine a week and 2 bottles of scotch. I have not had a drop of alcohol for 4 months. The really annoying thing is that I feel no better, I have lost no weight, I feel tired and lethargic. This is a pretty disappointing outcome for someone who drank so much. I have had a blood test 3 months after I stopped, there has been some positive change, I have been taken off blood pressure tablets because my blood pressure was now to low. Liver function is now perfect and even my cholesterol dropped. So these changes are obviously beneficial but why no weight loss. I eat healthy, I don’t drink soft drinks or eat sweets. Admittedly I have not done exercise but this is because I always feel tired. I will keep going as mi internal health has improved but sometimes i feel the non drinking is tougher to justify when I jump on the scales and am always tired.

    By Graham Henderson
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    June 12, 2019
    • Here here, heavy drinker like you (even more). I am going to the gym, eating the best I ever have and have had no weight change 🙁 Fingers crossed!

      By Brooke
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      June 5, 2020
  • So Good to read stories like this, I’ve given up for over 2 weeks now, waiting for the weight loss also, feeling heaps better, at 56 it’s about time I did something Positive for my Body, mind..

    By Amanda
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    June 12, 2019
  • if you don’t mind sharing your age? there is so much out there about how it’s harder for women who get older. i am 51 and looking for role models.

    By dmdinero
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    June 12, 2019
  • I too said goodbye to booze 160 days ago! Feeling amazing 15 kilos lighter and obsessed by my yoga tape! It is humbling to see how your body forgives you for years of misuse and resets to feelings and health enjoyed many years ago!!

    By Laney Riley
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    June 12, 2019
  • WoW…..since 17th Sept 2018 i haven’t had any alcoholic drink and i can too say it has been amazing, weight loss evident but i still need to work more on work out routine but it’s just worth it, a better move.

    By Murage Peter
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    June 13, 2019
  • Congrats to all of you. I admire your devotion to sticking with it. I’m good for 10 days at most without alcohol. I don’t drink every day. I binge on Fridays then Sunday’s (on Saturday I feel crappy). But I’m back binging Sunday. Every two weeks I’ll do this. I’ve gained 30 lbs. I want to stop for good as I always feel amazing during those dry days. I’ve started Keto and haven’t drank in Four days. I feel good. Low energy but will try to keep with it. Thanks for listening. .

    By Lee
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    June 13, 2019
  • Well done and an amazing, moivational story.

    By Sandy
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    June 13, 2019
  • I haven’t had any alcohol for 45 days, I have been walking 2-3 miles most days Dong an exercise dvd every other day and weights , I have cut out sugar and am eating a vegetarian diet yet i have only lost 2lb, I have been drinking more or less everyday for the past 5 years , will things speed up eventually? As this is the one hope that keeps me going.

    By Mandy Jones
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    June 13, 2019
  • Even if you Dy lose a bunch of weight you just feet better physically and emotionally by give up the alcohol.i read a by called the Easy Way to Quit drinking by Larry Carr who also did one about smoking. The just of the book is we become brain washed into thinking alcohol makes us feel better, and we somehow need it. Both deceptions pushed off on us so some company can make a lot of money by poisoning us. Yelp alcohol is a poison. I would not drink drain cleaner . But just waking up in the morning and not feeling like I have the flu is priceless.Not to mention the horribly things and mean things I would say to people. It can be done. Not all that hard when you look at it in light of reality.

    By Alan
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    June 13, 2019
  • I totally relate to your experience. I’d gotten to 50 and was my usual fit, trim and motivated self. Then menopause hit, very suddenly, and my weight skyrocketed from 60 to 80 kilos. Stopping drinking was the one uncomplicated behaviour change I eventually decided on to try to lose weight and the flow on effect from that one decision was phenomenal- as described beautifully in this article. I’m back to my longtime normal weight of 60 kilos (since my teens with very little variation) and don’t think I’ll ever pick up an alcoholic drink ever again. It’s been one and a half years and I can’t imagine ever risking lugging around that extra 20 kilos again!

    By Jenni
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    June 13, 2019
  • I have not read all the comments so please forgive me if someone mentioned/asked this…, but take me through the time of the first week at night, non cross fit days, where you were at home, alone, on your own. did you have what i have, where i just can’t seem to move past the see-saw of emotions, triggers, thoughts, etc of: “oh well maybe one drink will be fine” after I’ve gone an hour or maybe two into the night without it… i have a hard time, even whilst i cook and prepare meals, my brain desires say oh well just one will be good and ill stop… or the fear of when the cooking stops, what happens when i sit on the couch? i cant walk every night; but i guess i could even though its snowing, or raining or just too damn cold; the bra has come off and i am not getting dressed to go out. lol i dont know im looking for more insights on those times….

    By Alex
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    June 14, 2019
  • I’m with Graham on this. I feel hungover every morning, haven’t lost any weight and don’t feel much healthier. I’m going to ask dr about sleep apnoea as this would stop weight loss and cause the headaches and ‘hangover’ my sleep is more consistent though with no getting up during the night and all the other benefits of ‘not being a d*ck’ still apply.

    By Diane
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    June 16, 2019
  • Great work Vicki, I too did this. 12 years ago I had a sick husband, then baby 1 and 2 came along, both babies and husband still sick, started to self medicate on 1-2 glasses a night. Ended up in crisis mode on anti depressants and cut back booze. Fast forward several years and I’m downing 1-2 bottles a night. Gave me the lift I needed to get all my many tasks done. Sometimes I’d go to bed at 1 am and wake up thinking- oh shit- did I do all that washing last night and make the lunches? I couldn’t remember doing it. Nothing had changed. Husband still sick, always injured, another operation. Finally after a Recent separation, I had the time to focus on me. I was 35 kgs heavier than the weight I had been until 40 years old. Now 50, I had to do something. I joined my friends new gym. After the stress of being deserted by husband, I had lost a few kgs and so my starting weight was 92.9kgs. In January I joined hello Sunday morning and read a lot of posts. I didn’t want to belong- I stopped drinking for 12 weeks. I joined the boot camp challenge and went to the gym 6 x a week., walked the neighbours dog. Came 2nd overall in female cataegory and my coach was so proud of me. I passed on clothes and bought new ones. Such s great feeling! I’m now 82 kgs and starting the next challenge. I’m off BP medication, feel fabulous and despite being much heavier than my old weight of 60 kgs, my goal weight is now 68. Like you, I also love the banter of the gym and the social side. So my comment is to the lady who is 51, yes u can loose weight at our age- even if life is stressful and mdopause has kicked in

    By Happiness21
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    June 17, 2019
  • Graham and Dianne. Don’t panic too much After many years of drinking and at 54 being an expert at quitting having done it so many times! I am not going to let the bastard beat me. A few things I did find interesting though (After gaining a severe dose of hypochondria and seeing almost every GP in Australia) That there are many things our wasted drinking days have added to our health and weight increase that hopefully will subside in time. I had poor liver function high iron levels diabetes fluid retention blah blah. Anyway if you haven’t nodded off keep at it. It can only be a good thing. Cheers Paul

    By Paul
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    June 21, 2019
  • Thank you, that was clear and inspiring

    By Julia
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    March 26, 2020
  • Loved the article and such a good reminder of what the poison does to us! I do ALL of the things here, and at 55, am now ready to grow up and stop behaving like I’m a college kid. I used to be a runner and was fit and trim, but actually STILL drank several days a week! I wasn’t worried about weight gain from alcohol, as I would just “run” it off!! I don’t run anymore, as I’ve had foot surgery, and my knees and joints have started acting up. I’ve gained a bit, but haven’t really slacked off from drinking. I am currently on Day 3, and have finally had a wonderful night’s sleep and woke up at a “normal” time for me, feeling fresh and ready for the day of self-quarantine. I hope I can stick with this, as things are so stressful in the world right now, but I’m really trying to get out and take long walks or bike rides most days of the week. Good luck to you all, and hopefully your positivity will resonate back to me as well!!

    By Diana Mullins
    |
    April 1, 2020
  • I am on day 13 of zero Alcohol- I would binge on Friday or Saturday nights sometimes drinking two bottles of bubbly, starting around 2PM- also drinking about half a bottle every weeknight- Usually having a most awful night sleep and feeling crap at least half of the following day- Now, I am sleeping so much better, eating only healthy foods and the thing I notice most is how my skin has softened, and feels amazing! I hope to lose some weight but mostly I am hoping my blood pressure will go down as even tho I am on medications, it seems to be going dangerously high- was also getting the heart flutters- Now in the pandemic I need my immunity to be at its peak so stopping alcohol at this time has been the easiest transition for me- easier than I could ever hope- I also listen to some motivation podcasts and find them very helpful- if I lose a few kilos that would be a bonus but most of all I am wanting good health!

    By Carla
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    April 4, 2020
  • Hi, I agree with one of the comments and it would be nice if people will tell their age. Especially when it comes to losing weight it’s not the same when you are 25 then when you are 55. It would help to relate more to the post.

    By Jo
    |
    May 23, 2020
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